Ramaswamy shifts away from TV ads ahead of Iowa caucuses
(CNN) — Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign is pivoting its advertising strategy in the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses as data shows the campaign has no future television ad space currently reserved.
Ramaswamy’s campaign has no future ad bookings heading into the next month’s Iowa caucuses, according to the data tracking firm AdImpact, despite announcing an eight-figure advertising campaign targeting Iowa and New Hampshire in November. To date, the campaign has spent $1.8 million on TV ads in Iowa and another $1.3 million on TV ads in New Hampshire.
The campaign is signaling the shift away from TV ads is part of a strategy to target specific voters more effectively. In a social media post on Tuesday, Ramaswamy called spending on TV ads “idiotic” and “low-ROI,” and shared another post from a user suggesting younger voters may not be regular TV consumers.
“Presidential TV ad spending is idiotic, low-ROI & a trick that political consultants use to bamboozle candidates who suffer from low IQ. We’re doing it differently. Spending $$ in a way that follows data…apparently a crazy idea in US politics,” Ramaswamy said.
Despite speculation from some that his lack of TV spending suggested his campaign could be winding down before the Iowa caucuses on January 15, Ramaswamy said he plans to offer a “Big surprise coming on Jan 15” and later reaffirmed his aim to stay in the Republican primary through next month’s caucuses.
“We’re going with this to the very end. I expect we’re going to be successful,” Ramaswamy said in an interview with Fox News Wednesday evening.
The Ramaswamy campaign has only spent a total of $4.7 million on TV advertising since launching in February, a relatively small sum compared to the ad spending by his Republican rivals, with just $3.2 million in ad spending support from American Exceptionalism PAC, the super PAC backing Ramaswamy. The campaign has often leaned heavily into media interviews and social media to spread their message. In November, the campaign released its first TV ad alongside a plan to spend at least $10 million on advertising across TV, radio, digital and direct mail.
In contrast, the campaigns and super PACs supporting former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have all spent tens of millions of dollars on television advertising throughout the campaign. Each of the candidates will have ads touting their message airing in Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming weeks.
In a statement to CNN, Ramaswamy campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin said the campaign is preparing a new TV advertisement to air soon and said the campaign’s “spending levels haven’t changed” while stressing their use of data to determine spending.
“We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified—best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out,” McLaughlin told CNN. “As you know, this isn’t what most campaigns look like. We have intentionally structured this way so that we have the ability to be nimble and hyper targeted in our ad spending.”
NBC News was first to report the Ramaswamy campaign’s shift away from TV advertising.